It’s easy for a team to get its confidence up after starting the season 3-0. But it’s just as easy for that same team to find itself down in the dumps after a four-game losing streak.
The HRV junior varsity football team had one of those “up-and-down” seasons in 2002, streaking fast in both directions. But, despite some hard times, they were still able to finish with a record of 4-5.
“After those first three wins, we just couldn’t seem to finish games,” said first-year coach Phil Vesel, who is also the new head boys basketball coach at the high school.
“Our offense kind of stagnated in the second half of the season. Some of it had to do with injuries; some of it was losing the guys who moved up to varsity. But overall, it was a good learning year for the kids,” he said.
The varsity promotions to which Vesel refers are sophomore linebacker Bryan Williams, who is now one of the leading tacklers on the big club, and sophomore defensive back/wing back Justin Krizman, who overcame an injury to earn a starting safety job on the varsity squad.
“Losing Bryan at middle linebacker is what hurt the most,” Vesel said. “No one else really knew how to fill his shoes on the field, and the team really missed his leadership off the field.”
The promotion of Krizman also hurt because he was one of the team’s best secondary players, as well as one of two starting wing backs, along with sophomore Adam Brown.
“Adam had to deal with a little more pressure once Justin moved up,” Vesel said. “But I think he and the other guys missed Justin and Bryan’s leadership more than their presence on the field.”
The lightning-quick Brown, who is also a top sprinter on the HRV track team, was still able to amass more than 1,000 yards (official stats not available) and establish himself as one of the future stars for the program.
He shared this season’s backfield duties with sophomore Garrick Fisher and junior Alejandro Lozano, who also served as the team’s kicker.
Taking all the snaps for the JV’s this season was sophomore Dennis Methvin, who appears to be the heir apparent to senior Jarrod Fogle on the varsity team.
“Dennis is a great athlete and possesses tremendous leadership qualities that his teammates respond to,” Vesel said. “He is extremely coachable and I know coach (Mitch) Sanders is looking forward to working with him.”
Other players who will likely make the jump to varsity next year will be linebackers Casey Vannet and Alex Princehouse, safeties Adam Mack and Josh McHale, and linemen Andrew Rust, Kenny Kincaid, Eric Hoffman and Alex Dominguez. Rust may also see time at tight end.
Vesel also credited junior center Gary Rawlings and sophomore cornerback Erik Flory for their hard work throughout the season.
“There will be some tough choices to make at the varsity level next year,” he said.